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Journey by a London Bus


Published 1950
Topics London Buses


An interesting take on London Buses intended for overseas distribution. London bus travel. Double-Decker bus.


Run time 8 Minutes 5 Seconds
Production Company Colonial Film Unit
Sponsor Colonial Office
Audio/Visual sound, color
Language English


Credits

Public Information Films

Reviews

Reviewer: Rooftopjump - - March 29, 2012
Subject: Highly suspicious
Obvious that the "Africans enjoying a walk in the fields" were spies. The second one over the gate didn't close the top bar, meaning that herds of animals probably strayed on to the main road causing mayhem for the following 24 hours. The bus was strangely full of too-eager-to please towny folk whilst in the middle of nowhere. Very rum all round.
Reviewer: wooot - - August 14, 2009
Subject: Nice
These are a totally viable method of transportation in and around London. I use them every time I come to visit. I love the bus to London.
Reviewer: kris1999 - - January 26, 2009
Subject: Bit of background
Just to give a bit of background, post-war Britain invited a lot of people from its colonies in the West Indies to come and live to the UK, due to a massive labour shortage. Apparently most black Britons can trace their heritage to parents or grandparents who came across the Atlantic during the 1950s.

It may be that these 1950s immigrants are who the film was aimed at, or perhaps it was aimed at a white audience, trying to help promote racial harmony. The white child happily playing with the black student does imply a sort of "we're all the same under our skin" message.

It's also worth noting that a lot of black immigrants found their first work on London's public transport system, as bus conductors, train guards etc. It's possible that this film was in some way meant to encourage potential immigrants to work for London Transport.

Regarding double deckers going far into the countryside, yes they did on the Green Line, but they were painted green instead of red (which wouldn't be visible on this film).
Reviewer: Spuzz - - June 3, 2008
Subject: You Are A Fool If You Don't Ride This Bus This Very Minute.
Lovely and bizarre trip by a London Doubledecker that is "always on time", polite, and all sorts of other strange claims. I am not too sure why the Brits were almost standing on their heads to tell us that the busses are like the best thing that will ever happen to you, but here it is. Odd too that the film would go out of it's way to say how welcome black passengers are. Maybe this was made for black audiences in the US? A very odd odd film, and, I havent said this in a while, have I? HIGHLY RECCOMENDED!
Reviewer: uncle nobby - - September 20, 2007
Subject: buses
A cracking film! I'm not sure that double deckers went that far out of town though!

Don't get too uptight about any rascist condescension implicit in making a film about turning on a light switch. Public Information Films treated ALL watchers as untermenschen and dunderheads! There is a lovely wartime film about how to make a cup of tea properly!!
Reviewer: wildwaylon - - September 4, 2007
Subject: london buses
A great little film, well worth a watch.
Reviewer: R. Freedman - - February 24, 2006
Subject: Interesting for a bus buff
Never mind the politically correct part. It is a great movie of the RT type of London bus. Despite what the previous reviewer said, the buses are not the Routemaster which did not enter service until some years after this movie ws made.
Reviewer: rgs_uk - - October 12, 2005
Subject: The Colonial Film Unit shows Africans how to use a bus
There was famously one of these films that showed new-arrivals to Britain how to turn on an electric light. But maybe the British Government is holding back some of those really bad films?

This one isn't quite so patronising. Although, produced by the 'Colonial Film Unit', the aim seems to be to 'educate' Africans on how to travel on a double decker bus. Indeed it features a journey by two African students.

The irony is, the script seems to have been written by someone who had never used public transport. Buses always arrive on time and the staff are always polite apparently! Or maybe things really were different in those days?

Watch out for the 'cripple' who needs help boarding the bus!

Although these days it seems rather anally-retentive and something of a sledgehammer to crack a walnut, this film does have a lot of charm and plenty of great shots of the old red Routemaster double-decker buses that are due to disappear from London streets in the last months of 2005.

Later in the 1950's and 1960's many African and Carribean people would end up emigrating to Britain and working as conductors and drivers on the same double-deckers.
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